Blu-ray Review: Caltiki – The Immortal Monster

Caltiki – The immortal monster

Italy, France: 1959
Original title: Caltiki the immortal monster
Direction: Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava
Screenplay: Filippo Sanjust
Performers: John Merivale, Didi Sullivan, Gerard Herter
Published by Artus Films
Duration: 1:17
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror
Movie release date: June 29, 1960
BR / DVD release date: April 19, 2022

During an expedition to an ancient Mayan temple, archaeologists discover the ancient statue of Caltiki, the goddess of death. A monster emerges and attacks a team member, grafting a gelatin-like substance onto it. At the same time, comet Arsinoe passes close to Earth, increasing radioactivity. The formless mass grows gradually, sweeping everything in its path …

The movie

[4/5]

Great video novelty for father and son Bava: next to the premiere of three films by Lamberto Bava (The House of Terror and the diptych demonized / Demons 2), French publishers continue to explore the great classics of the career of the master Mario Bava: later The mask of the devil i The girl who knew too muchtoday is Caltiki – The immortal monster will be released on Blu-ray.

Officially, Caltiki – The immortal monster it is not a film by Mario Bava, but by Riccardo Freda. However, it is known that Freda abandoned the project during filming, later explaining that he wanted to give his collaborator Mario Bava, who was in charge of photography and special effects, the chance to move on to directing. However, during interviews given long after the film’s release, Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava expressed quite conflicting views on which of the two should be considered today as the true director of Caltiki – The immortal monster. However, several film historians suggest that Bava shot a large part of the film’s sequences, particularly the death scenes, the monster, or even the special effects scenes.

Mix of horror and science fiction, Caltiki – The immortal monster represents a voracious Mayan goddess of human flesh, and takes the form of a kind of great sticky mass that will inevitably remind the one who sowed terror in The Blob – Planetary Danger. Unless of course, the creature in question does not evolve here in a small, quiet town in the 1950s, but in Mexico, where a team of archaeologists awakens the entity from the depths in an often outdated environment with a Good smell budget, which definitely. accentuates its charm a little more. The power of attraction of Caltiki – The immortal monster it is also due in part to its context, which implicitly evokes the mysteries surrounding the demise of the Mayan civilization.

For the rest, the script of the film fits with the concerns of the time, streamlining its horrifying starting point by mixing a dark story of comets and radiation. However, we will notice a very remarkable originality throughout history: Caltiki – The immortal monster he foreshadowed in his own way the films of “found footage” that would flood fantasy cinema many years later. In fact, the film’s explorers discover and watch films shot by members of a previous expedition in an attempt to understand what happened to them …

But let’s face it – Caltiki – The immortal monster it is especially valuable for its representation in the image, rather a beacon for the time. Mario Bava’s work in photography and the special effects of the film is absolutely remarkable, especially considering the small budget he obviously had to deal with. The matte-paintings at the beginning of the film are excellent, and the care given to the lighting and atmosphere of the film really contributes to its success, especially thanks to this ability of the master to create a haunting atmosphere and extremely macabre images. of almost nothing. Overall, and despite its few shortcomings in terms of rhythm, Caltiki – The immortal monster stands out as an extremely popular B-series, along with an impressive showcase dedicated to the inimitable know-how of Mario Bava behind the camera.

The Blu-ray + DVD + Book combo

[4,5/5]

Chaining Blu-ray + DVD combo boxes with great regularity for a few years, Art Films has confirmed more than ever his status as a major player in the small world of video editing in France, both in quality and editorial content. Caltiki – The immortal monster therefore, it arrives in an exceptional new box to increase the ranks of its “SF Vintage” collection, already largely provided with absolutely essential titles.

This new Blu-ray + DVD Combo from Caltiki – The immortal monster therefore it will include, as its name suggests, both the DVD and Blu-ray movie. As expected, the HD movie benefits from a pretty impressive update, especially when compared to the DVD edition so far available in France: the master is exemplary in stability, the grain of the ‘origin is preserved, the definition and sharpness. they increase considerably … It’s a very nice technical job. Perhaps we are a little reluctant to the contrasts, which from time to time could have benefited a little more suddenly during the darker sequences. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never seen it or not Caltiki – The immortal monster from the time of the triumphant DVD, the truth is that this edition will allow (re) discovering the film of Riccardo Freda / Mario Bava in the best possible conditions: the compression is perfect for a port that regularly bursts the screen. As for the speakers, we offer vintage VF and Italian VO, a LPCM Audio 2.0, in mono of course. The dialogues are clear, the atmospheres quite well preserved, breathless. Notice a clear dominance of the original, more natural and full version.

In addition to being a beautiful object, the box edited by Art Films it’s not stingy with supplements and other nice content – the box includes a nice one in the first place 64-page notebook titled “The Italian Blob”, very richly illustrated with archive photos and written in a nice style by Christian Lucas. On the cake itself, the editor pampers us again, with first a presentation of the film by Stéphane Derderian (19 minutes). He will start by placing the film in its shooting context (the second Italian science fiction film), as well as within the career of Mario Bava. He will then continue with a small digression in order to mark the difference between the B series and the notion of “Bis” cinema, and the fact that we cannot classify. Caltiki – The immortal monster in the category of the B series. It will then be expanded with the neologism “genre film”, questioning its real definition. After 14 minutes of theories on the notion of gender, he will finally talk about the film, which is at the crossroads between The monster (Val Guest, 1955) i The Blob – Planetary Danger (Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., 1958). Next, we will continue with a theme by Christian Lucas dedicated to the collaboration between Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava (10 minutes). Finally, we will end with the French credits of the film, which will be accompanied by a photo gallery as well as the traditional one trailer. To purchase this Blu-ray + DVD edition, go to on the publisher’s website !

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